We have a love/hate affair with scallops in our house.
I love them, based on growing up in New England and plentiful fried seafood (even if I didn’t start eating said seafood until I was in my twenties.)
Patricia, on the other hand, doesn’t, for her own rhymes and reasons.
But she’s warming up to them. Slowly but surely.
There isn’t much to say about this recipe. As opposed to the previous one, where the fish was an after thought, the scallops aren’t unimportant, aren’t important. The sabayon would be just as good on a clam, or a mussel, but the scallops do have this … well, if you love scallops, they have this scallop-ness, a scallop-osity.
A little on ‘sabayon’. If you’re looking at that not knowing what it is and thinking ‘I want to say zabaglione,’ I don’t blame you one bit. It’s damn fun to say. Come on, say it with me!
What, that’s not how it’s pronounced? Eh, fuggedaboutit.
So, all a sabayon is… just a light custard, whipped to bring in a bunch of air to make it puffy. It’s really a dessert, generally served by the bowl. But here? it’s a dollop toping a scallop. And it really is fantastic.
You’ll note we served it with an oven baked asparagus. Our regular preparation: break off the rough ends, peel from about an inch and half below the head down, toss with olive oil, throw in a pyrex roasting pan and crack some salt atop. Cook for 10-12 minutes in a 400f oven. That sauce was excellent on the asparagus.
Serves two as a main course or six as an appetizer
- 2 cups sweet Muscat wine
- 3 sprigs fresh tarragon (or thyme)
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced into 1/8-inch thick rounds
- 2 pounds scallops (the original recipe called for singing scallops, in the shell, but we used Taylor Shellfish’s scallops)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon (or thyme)
- 1/4 tsp orange or lemon zest
- Kosher salt
- In a large pot, heat the Muscat, thyme, onion, and lemon slices over high heat until boiling.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the scallops to poach for 3 minutes, until just cooked. [See note below]
- Remove the scallops and set aside (cover with foil to keep warm).
- Strain the liquid and discard the solids.
- Transfer the liquid to a small saucepan and reduce over high heat until thick and syrupy. The volume should reduce by about 2/3.
- Allow to cool slightly (2-3 minutes).
- Arrange the scallops on a baking dish or in ramekins (basically in something you can broil for 2-3 minutes).
- Boil water in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Set a metal bowl over the water (or use a double boiler).
- Whisk the egg yolks and the cooled syrup in the metal bowl over the boiling water.
- Mix rapidly until the sauce lightens in color and thickens, 3-5 minutes. (The book called for it to reach the ribbon stage, but it never really seemed to get to that stage, but it looked nice and thick and light, so we just went with it.)
- Place a large drop or two of sauce over each scallop and set the scallops in the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has patches of golden-brown carmelization.
Note: If you can come up with a way to poach the scallops and easily remove them (say, putting them in a strainer and dropping the strainer in the liquid to poach so you are able to remove them all at the same time), let us know what works and what doesn’t. Removing them using a slotted spoon ain’t easy to do fast, and you’re likely to end up with a couple overcooked scallops.
In that same line of reasoning, if you’re not going to be able to pull them out at once, keep a count of how many you put in so you know how many you need to pull out.
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